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Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine

Description

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a naturally occurring phopspholipid that appears to play an important role in the function of brain cells, including neurotransmitter function and synaptic communication.

Until recently it was only available as a supplement in the form of a bovine extract, which is unacceptable to many vegetarian consumers and others fearing viral disease. Early studies used the bovine resource, usually identified as BC-PS (Bovine cortex phosphatidyleserine).

PS was known to occur naturally in soy as the phospholipid lecithin but only now is this commercially available. It is provided to a number of vitamin/supplement manufacturing companies. The equivalence of the two products has been indicated in studies by Gindin.

The outer membrane of brain cells is composed of a double layer of phosphatides, with their heads facing out and their tails facing in. In healthy cells, PS is almost always concentrated in the inner layer, except in certain types of communication between two cells that are touching or from the cell to nearby cells, where PS flips to the outer layer and becomes part of a "vesicle" that carries a chemical message.

PS is a phospholipid which serves to bind the diversity of other large molecules, forming the cell membrane. The phosphatide heads each have an amino at the front end, followed by a phosphate, then by a glycerol, to which two lipid tails are attached.

Besides PS, there are 3 other phosphatides, phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylinositol (PI), and a different class called sphingomyelins.

Technical Specifications of Phosphatidylserine formulations

The Phosphatidylserine Formulations contain soy lecithin with high concentrations of phosphatidylserine.

Accuracy tolerance of weight per ingrediet is plus or minus 5%.

Fatty acid content of the Phosphatidylserine Formulations dry powder per 100 granls is as follows:

Fatty Acid Weight

capric acid (C6:0)0.4 gr.
caprillic acid (C8:0)3.6 gr.
lauric acid (Cl2:0)0.1 gr.
palmitic acid (C16:0)7.0 gr.
stearic acid (CI8:0)1.5 gr.
oleic acid (CI8:1)4.2 gr.
linoleic acid (C 1 8:2)20.0 gr.
linolenic acid (CI8:3)2.2 gr.



Hazard Summary: all ingredients of the products are biologically compatible and do not bear any known explicit or implicit toxic potential. The product has no fire or explosion hazard and is chemically inert.

Method of Action

Given orally, PS is rapidly absorbed and readily crosses the blood barrier (BBB) to reach the brain where it is taken up by the cell membranes.

The membranes of nerve cells are particularly high in Phosphatidylserine (PS). PS supports multiple membrane functions in nerve cells.

Human trials dating back to the 1970s support benefits to cognitive functions following the consumption of PS in the form of dietary supplements.

These include:

        conducting the nerve impulse;
        manipulating nerve transmitter substances;
        signal transduction (Zanotti);
        supporting cell homeostasis (Toffano);
        cellular detoxification;
        antioxidant effects (Latorraca).

Current interest surrounds this combination of mental abilities, the restoration of which simulates a process of rejuvenation.        

Benefits which are often mentioned for "mature adults" include (Crook), 1991:-

        learn and remember names;
        recognize acquaintances;
        recall numbers;
        concentration.


Phosphatidylserine is even being heralded as an exciting new sports nutrient! PS was shown to lower the production of stress hormones in healthy, young men subjected to exercise-induced stress, when given prior to the stress, in an open, placebo-controlled trial.

Higher dosages are involved than for older persons seeking purely cognitive benefits: Amounts up to 800 mg. PS, are taken one hour before a workout. As a precaution it is suggested that if digestive discomfort occurs, cut to 200 mg., then gradually increase to 800 mg. over several days or a few weeks, if tolerable.

It is often wise to progress in this fashion rather than to "jump in the deep end" straight away.





        

Therapeutic Approaches

Indications

Nutritional support for memory, learning, and emotional well-being, by protecting against age-related disturbances of neurotransmitter systems, loss of normal metabolism levels in the brain, loss of nerve connections (synapses) in the brain, and impairment of various higher mental activities.

Also, nutritional support for nerve cell differentiation, activation and renewal, neurotransmitter production and release, and maintaining electrical current flows in and between the cells.

Especially indicated for people over 50 years of age, and for people who may have prematurely damaged brain cell membranes due to disease, alcohol or other drug use, pollution, or other causes. May be a necessary, permanent supplement to treatment for epilepsy. Also indicated for protection against stress hormone release, a negative adaptation to stress, in adults of any age.


Suggested dosage:

One capsule (100 mg PS), three times a day with meals. Taking too close to bedtime may delay falling asleep.


Results of Clinical Trials

In double-blind clinical trials, PS has led to improvements in recognizing faces, learning and recalling names with faces; recall of numbers, misplaced objects, and written information; recall of details of recent events; alertness, and ability to concentrate while reading, tawng and performing tasks.

Other double-blind clinical trials have shown improvements in activities related to daily living, especially a lessening of apathy and withdrawal. In one of these trials, benefits lasted 3 months after stopping PS, even though only 200 mg. were taken daily during the dosage phase (the suggested use is 300 mg. daily, divided into 3 doses).

Double-blind clinical trials have included documentation of improvements in brain function using EEG; (ElectroEncephaloGraphy) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography). Intravenous PS injection in men 21 to 28 years of age boosted alpha rhythm an average of 15 to 20%, measured by EEG. Alpha rhythm is associated with acetylcholine-cholinergic activity in the brain, and is often reduced in aging and in cognitive deterioration. In other subjects with mild cognitive deterioration, 8 week dosing sessions improved EEG "powee, levels toward normal, accompanied by general clinical improvement.

In a variety of double-blind and open clinical trials, PS has consistently improved memory and functioning in elderly women, restored the daily rhythm of thyrotropin hormone (TSH) secretion, and given some benefit to women with physical complaints that apparently had a psychological basis.

In a preliminary investigation, Cocito and collaborators found evidence that permanent use of PS may be important for people with epilepsy.

Toxicity Factors

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is derived from soy phospholipids, a natural food with a long history of safe use in foods and dietary supplements for humans and animals.

Medical literature currently contains dozens of human studies. In 23 peer-reviewed human studies, PS has been shown to be safe and effective for human use.

200 mg. or more PS taken at once may (rarely) cause nausea, by stimulating an excessive release of dopamine.

300 mg. per day is associated with lower uric acid and liver SGPT levels, without adverse clinical effect. Dogs survived 70 grams daily (233 times the normal human dose) for a year without apparent histological damage.

Because no reproductive studies appear to be available, it is not recommended for use when pregnant or nursing without supervision by a knowledgeable health care practitioner.



Abstracts

References

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